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Florida prosecutors seeking death penalty in school shooting

Nikolas Cruz would have pleaded guilty to the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had the death penalty not been pursued, attorneys say.

Nikolas Cruz, accused of murdering 17 people in

Nikolas Cruz, accused of murdering 17 people in the Florida high school shooting, appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Feb. 19, 2018. Photo Credit: Mike Stocker

MIAMI — Florida prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty against school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz in the fatal shooting of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The office of Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz filed the formal notice Tuesday. The 19-year-old Cruz is scheduled for formal arraignment Wednesday on a 34-count indictment, including 17 first-degree murder charges.

Cruz’s attorneys have said he would plead guilty if the death penalty was not pursued in the Valentine’s Day massacre. The action by prosecutors Tuesday does not necessarily mean a plea deal will not be reached.

The only other penalty option for Cruz is life in prison with no possibility of parole.

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